When I have experienced writer's block in the past it's always because I wasn't writing the correct thing. Something was critically wrong with my story and I couldn't work forward until it was fixed. This past year has been different. I think I stopped trusting myself and my vision. Rejection took its toll and I think, on a subconscious level, I no longer believed that the right story lay within me. I lost the joy of writing for writing's sake and could only see my failures.
My critique partner would ask me about this every time she saw me. I didn't see what was happening because I was still writing, sort of. Hardly producing, but I would open the file and change it enough to have to save at the end. She saw me flailing and wanted to help, but I didn't see it. She asked if I was done with writing. I said no, but I wondered.
So, here it is. I am not done with writing. What I am done with (until I freak out again, there's a full moon, menstruation, out of ice cream, whatever) is writing with the goal of getting an agent/editor's attention. I'm writing for me. I'm writing what will make me smile, cry, or surprise my husband with unsolicited physical affection. I will write because it makes me feel like I'm fulfilling my potential.
And if an agent/editor ends up liking it, bully for me. If not... well, eventually sometime something I write will be the right thing for the industry and then I'll have a whole backlog of completed manuscripts for my future readers.
In honor of my wake up call, my next post will include the beginning pages from a work in progress than I'm disinterring and going to finish (if it kills me, goshdarnit). So stay tuned.
The video linked below is twenty minutes but worth your time. I have thought back on it many times over the years, especially when I don't feel the creative genius percolating and try to force it. It helps me to realize I can't control everything (serenity prayer anyone?) and the stories that need to be told will be told.